Plant & Food Research summer internship: Emily Cooper

University of Auckland student, Emily Cooper, shares insights from her three month summer internship experience at Plant & Food Research. Find out why she’d highly recommend other students to do the same!

“I had a lot of fun during my internship. I was lucky enough to meet a lot of amazing people, who I know I’ll keep in contact with. It was hard work but I had a lot of support and encouragement from my colleagues and friends. Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience! I’d definitely recommend an internship to anyone thinking of giving it a go.

“I first heard about the internship through the Plant & Food Research internship launch night held at the University of Auckland, early in the second semester. A classmate had posted about the launch night on our class Facebook page.

“The interview process was very relaxed. It was more of an informal Skype meeting where my prospective Supervisors wanted to know a bit more about me and gave me the chance to ask all the questions I had about the job.

“I was what you would call a Junior Research Associate, as my main responsibilities were carrying out literature reviews and both organising and conducting interviews to contribute to a larger project. The work was quite varied – when I wasn’t at a computer, I was either out in the field or doing interviews; which was a great way to meet new people! Your day-to-day tasks all depend on the type of project you’re working on. Some of the other summer students spent their time out in the field all day, or in the lab every day, or based at a computer.

I can safely say I know a lot about soil health now! But honestly, I probably know a lot more about myself than I did in the beginning. Particularly that I am a lot more capable and resilient than I give myself credit for

"This internship has given me so many unique opportunities, and I now know what working for a Crown Research Institute is like – which has set the bar for what I should expect from future employers.

“I think the most challenging thing for me was getting to know a bunch of new computer-based programmes. Learning new things can often be difficult and of course, a bit daunting, but definitely worthwhile in the long run. Writing the final report was also challenging as it was quite different to uni assignments we’re used to. I had so much flexibility that I almost didn’t know what to do!

“What surprised me the most about the internship was the total sense of community at Plant & Food Research. I’ve made so many new friends - particularly at the site I was based at – plus, through the different social events, and even just from tea breaks. Everyone was so lovely, inclusive and very much willing to help out if you had no idea what you were doing. All you needed to do was ask.

“I would highly recommend applying for a summer internship – especially with Plant & Food Research – they are an amazing company. When applying for an internship, find something that’s of interest to you, even if it’s something you’ve never done before or even in a completely different city. Follow what interests you and I guarantee, it will open up new opportunities and experiences!”

An internship can kickstart your career! Find out more about opportunities for next summer, or even an overseas internship with CDES.